How to Naturally Improve Back Pain and Herniated Discs
The American Chiropractic Association reports that back pain costs Americans an estimated $50 billion in health care expenses per year, and results in 264 million lost days of work during the same period of time. Although many individuals still seek medication as their first line of treatment, scientific research has revealed how much safer and effective chiropractic care can be in comparison.
A recent study conducted on almost 800 active duty U.S. military service members demonstrated that chiropractic care provides higher rates of pain relief than traditional pain relief methods alone. With back pain being leading cause of disability in the U.S. military1, and among the population in general2, these findings have potentially massive implications for those who regularly experience moderate to severe back issues.
Despite the resistant skepticism of some, health professionals and researchers have continuously proven chiropractic care as a safe, all-natural, effective solution for upper and lower back pain. Some of the most recent findings have even shown that it may now be the safest method of all available treatments.
Learn more about the causes and prevalence of back pain and herniates discs, as well as how chiropractic care can be the best solution for these conditions.
What Are the Causes of Back Pain?
Back pain can be caused by a number of triggering events. However, there are several underlying causes that ultimately lead to the painful symptoms that occur.
Whether you are aware of the exact moment it happened, or simply woke up hurting, back pain has an endless list of potential triggering events. Despite the possible speculation about how you ended up with this pain, you are likely suffering from one of two possible issues.
The first is a muscle or ligament strain. These strains most frequently occur as a result of sudden movements, or from lifting of heavy objects. However, you can end up with a strained muscle or ligament while performing relatively basic tasks if you do not regularly exercise. Back strains are an extremely common type of injury. In addition to the ongoing pain, muscle spasms and decreased range of motion are also associated with back strains.
The second most common cause of back pain is a pinched nerve or disc. A pinch nerve occurs when “too much pressure (compression) is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues.” A pinched disc, however, is recognized as its own separate condition.
What is a Herniated Disc?
Also known as a pinched, slipped, or ruptured disc, a herniated disc is defined as “a problem with one of the rubbery cushions [discs] that sit between the individual bones (vertebrae) that stack to make your spine.”
This condition can occur at any point in the spine, and can occasionally result in no symptoms. When symptoms are present, they take the form of numbness, weakness, tingling, leg pain, and arm pain. Your specific symptoms (if any) will depend heavily on where the herniated disc occurs.
How Many Individuals Experience Back Pain?
According to the latest figures, back pain is an extremely common condition among adults living in the United States. Across the population, “80 percent of adults experience [back pain] at some point in their lifetimes.3” Despite the high occurrence of back pain, few actually seek out treatment for the problem on a yearly basis. Studies have shown that only 1 in 4 people seek medical care annually for back pain.
Aside from personal challenges, untreated back pain results in damaging consequences for our entire nation. Each day, this type of pain causes reduced productivity in the workplace, missed work, lost wages, and high health care bills. It is also the third most common cause of doctor’s visits in the U.S.4. Due to the high prevalence of back pain, it is crucial for those who are experiencing these symptoms to find an effective, safe, and lasting solution.
Why Can Conventional Care for Back Pain be Problematic?
When over-the-counter medicines fail to provide relief for moderate to severe back pain, many doctors prescribe painkillers. Unfortunately, this course of treatment can result in devastating consequences.
Misuse of opioid painkillers affects several million Americans each year5. While doctors are now starting to take precautions when prescribing these medications (especially for issues such as back pain), it is important for patients to be proactive in avoiding the risks. Despite the immediate relief that prescription painkillers provide, they are intended to be a short-term solution. For those who suffer from chronic back pain, alternative treatments that address the root cause should be explored to avoid possible dependency or addiction.
How Can Chiropractic Care Help With Back Pain?
Rather than trying medication, injections, or surgery as the first treatment method for back related issues, chiropractic care can often be the best initial and ongoing solution. Not only is it safer and more affordable but it can also provide better results over the long-term.